Cannabis retail, from medical dispensaries to recreational stores, is a new twist on a traditional and valued sector of the economy. While the future of federal marijuana legalization remains uncertain, building a strong foundation utilizing proven sales and customer service techniques can help legitimize and destigmatize the industry.
Amazing strides are made every year in the marijuana industry. New retail stores and dispensaries are opening all the time. With all the competition, attracting and keeping loyal customers is essential. Using selling techniques in tandem with excellent customer service is the best way to keep the edge in an ever-changing landscape.
Sales and Service: The Ultimate Power Couple
Traditional views on sales and customer service often set the two in separate categories, though both are required, not only in retail but in many other sectors in the public and private spheres. From Fortune 500 companies to the local corner store, selling and service go hand in hand.
Sometimes customers know exactly what they want, they require less information and more service with a smile. Other times customers have a vague idea but need a knowledgeable associate to make a more informed decision. There are also customers that enjoy a short conversation about the cannabis industry or local and federal laws. Often you will find consumers fall somewhere between these extremes.
To meet the needs of each customer will require sales and customer service skills. Focus on customer satisfaction, helping people is the heart of service. Find the win-win solution. There is a balance between making the sale and great customer service. If you are unable to meet the needs of your customer, guiding them toward a potential solution is another simple way of pairing sales and service. People remember above and beyond service and give loyalty to businesses that treat them right.
Training the Team
You know sales and service are a winning combination, but how can you be sure your whole team is working with the same set of tools? The simple answer is training.
In 2008, Starbucks famously shut every single store in the United States for one afternoon to focus on retraining every staff member. The brand was important and Starbucks wanted consistency in drink making nationwide. Part customer service, part marketing, this was an important step for the company to maintain and build customer loyalty. Knowing that a customer could get the same latte in Portland, Oregon as Portland, Maine was more important than an afternoon of sales nationwide.
Having a standard training protocol in place is beneficial to businesses of every size. Employees will know exactly what you expect of them and they will have the tools necessary to succeed. Customers will appreciate the uniform service from every team member. In addition, streamlined training will get your new employees to the level of sales and service you need.
Training specifically for sales helps employees understand how to close with conviction but also provides insight into the connection between serving and selling. Holding mandatory trainings to keep your employees up to date on any changes in the local and federal cannabis laws gives them the expertise your customers expect.
All too often the old stereotype of the huckster salesman with the stiff hair and cheap suit permeates modern culture. A profitable business requires selling and marketing but those words don't have to conjure images of crafty confidence men. Selling doesn't have to be slick or shady. Informative, friendly staff are the ultimate goal of combining sales and service.
By recognizing that service is selling and selling is good service, retail stores and dispensaries will grow profits while building a loyal customer base.